Home for break: What does it feel like?

Managing your emotions when going home is an unexpected obstacle as a first-year student. There are so many things to look forward to: your own bed, home cooked meals and the spirit of the holiday season for winter break. Something I did not plan for was my emotion, the changing relationships of friends from home and the separation from ‘freedom’ that I so loved while being on campus. This is not to say that your experience will be exactly like mine; however, you can use it as a possible rendition of what you may feel when you travel to ‘home sweet home.’

The first time I came home for an extended period of time was winter break. I remember feeling really confused about having almost a whole month off from school, not being surrounded by all the wonderful new friends I’d made and my parents suddenly asking me to do chores again or set curfews. It took me a moment to realize that there had been a change in my lifestyle and that needed to be recognized. The break is only temporary and I could have focused more on being around my family so often again, finally eating my mom’s cooking and being in the comfort of my own home. Once that happened, curling up on the couch to watch a movie was the best feeling. I realized I hadn’t had it in a while and it felt really good. 

A part of me also felt a sense of surprise. They say ‘expect the unexpected’ and in this moment that was definitely true. I almost felt like I was on vacation, living out of suitcase during those weeks of break because I technically no longer lived at home. Home was a slightly different feeling. If you have younger siblings, you sort of feel out of the loop with their lives because you’ve been ‘away.’ Even my younger sisters hadn’t grasped that ‘sissy’s going to college’ meant sissy’s moving out and becoming (trying to be) an adult. I noticed my relationships with some close friends from home were shifting. As I had grown through my first semester at college, so had they. I also realized we were not as close as I had hoped to still be. It was nice to see everyone again and also to acknowledge that we all are on different paths now, and that’s okay. The initial emotion was slightly shocking however it became a comfortable reality. 

Overall, your emotions when going home can vary and shift often. I think it’s important to ultimately realize that things change and your lifestyle now is also really different. Take the break as a time to relax or mentally prepare for the shift back to school for second semester as well. Continue to be aware that change is inevitable and that’s okay. 

Love the Skin You’re in!

How many times have you asked yourself, “Ugh! Do I look fat in this?” or, “How many calories are in [insert some ridiculously small portion of something here]?” or maybe even, “If I ask for seconds, will you judge?” Society has made us question ourselves far too long.

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Last year, Demi Levato said, “Kim Kardashian revolutionized our generation’s view of what beautiful is.” This view of beautiful is not realistic…at all. Perfect curves are not everyone’s reality, especially in college. The real question is,

How do I love the skin that I am in?

Great question! I am here to give you five tips as to how and why you should stop shaming yourself based on what you THINK you should look like.

Stop comparing yourself to others!

Just don’t do it. Accept yourself for who you are. Who says that you should look like the Victoria’s Secret model or have a perfect “beach bod”? Don’t listen to what society depicts as “beauty”. Beauty isn’t a certain shape, size, or color.

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Get off of the scale…please.

College is stressful, so it is possible that your weight will fluctuate. However, not only is “Freshman 15” a myth, it’s a surface-level concept. Besides, “healthy” isn’t always “skinny” and beauty isn’t only skin-deep. It goes beyond that!

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Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.

Make a list of things that you like about yourself. Appreciate the small things–whether that’s a widow’s peak, a gray hair, or a stretch mark–they’re what make you YOU! If everyone was the same, how much fun would that be? Remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and we are ALL human.

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If YOU don’t like it, do something.

Notice “you” is in all caps. What I mean is if you don’t like something about yourself, then make those changes for you. Don’t make them because someone else told you to or someone else told you that you were not good enough. That’s not true! It’s your life; your opinion is the only one that matters.

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Surround yourself with positive people.

Live your life according to your values and beliefs. Never feel pressured by those around you to be someone who you are not. Confide in family members, friends, and/or your Peer Leader, and seek out your support system when needed. You cannot change the people around you, but you CAN change the people around you.

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Culture can be a strong influence on our depiction of beauty, but it shouldn’t be. Media, TV, and movies should not be the preferred method for ideas of what a “perfect body” looks like because it simply doesn’t exist. Self-love and self-image SHOULD be at the upmost importance. Just remember, you are NEVER alone. If you ever have any concerns or struggling with self-esteem or body image issues, please visit Counseling and Consultation Services website to make an appointment to talk to a professional, you can meet with seek out the Student Wellness center for wellness coaching. Always remember to love the skin you’re in!

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